Two accused in Free State farmer and son murder abandon bail

SABC News Farm - Two accused in Free State farmer and son murder abandon bail

The two men accused of the murder of a farmer and his son, have abandoned their bail application in the Hennenman Magistrate’s Court, in the Free State.

Patrick Bochedi and Mojalefa Modise are accused of shooting dead 56-year-old farmer, Pieter Hills, and stabbing his 26-year-old son, Eddie, on their Swartpan farm on 5 November.

Eddie died of his injuries a week later.

The case has been postponed to 9th December.

Scores of farmers gathered outside the Hennenman Magistrate’s Court ahead of the duo’s appearance. 36-year-old Bochedi and 38-year-old Modise are facing charges of two counts of murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Police arrested four people after the attack. One suspect was found hanging in the police cells a day after the arrest. The other suspect was released due to lack of evidence. Farmers are calling for justice to prevail.

“All the farmers that are here, we are all united. We are a family. We hunt want peace in this land.”

“I stand for farm murders for all people and all colours and those people must not get bail. And we must stay in harmony.”

Activist Phakamile Sitho says President Cyril Ramaphosa should come to the area.

“Let me tell you, we are going to be like Zimbabwe one of the days. That’s why I’m here to stand for our people, our rights, our economy. Now, I say Mr President please come forward and I know you are going to use these poor people to vote for you next year.”

Kallie Roux from United Against Farm Murders and Attacks has also weighed in asking when will the murders of farmers be addressed?

“When are we going to address farm murders? So that these brutal killings on our farmers … as we say in the past … the people that secure our food … so that needs to be addressed urgently. And also, Mr President Cyril Ramaphosa, I think it’s now time for him to stand up, acknowledge farm murders and also to condemn them.”

The duo’s legal representative, Tebogo Mokhele, says he has advised them to abandoned their bail application.

“After consultation with my clients we decided that there’s certain information that we need to verify first which will be important regarding their bail applications. Because of that, that’s why we see it’s an option to abandon bail now so that we can verify that information. And later on, we can make arrangements for formal bail application.”

NPA Free State spokesperson, Phaladi Shuping, says investigations are continuing.

“Once there’s an investigative process under way,  we cannot rule out the possibility of more people getting arrested. As you are aware that the offence was allegedly just committed a few days ago so there’s a lot of investigations that are still outstanding.”

There was a strong police presence at the Hennenman Magistrate’s Court.

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